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Causes of Dysphagia

Dysphagia not a disease in the traditional sense. It’s a swallowing disorder that may have a number of underlying causes, including:

  • Aging. In older adults, the esophagus tends to lose some of the muscle strength and coordination needed to push food into your stomach
  • Malfunctioning muscles in the mouth, throat, or esophagus
  • Infections or irritations that obstruct or causes narrowing of the esophagus (such as ulcers and cancer)
  • A nerve or brain condition that weakens your mouth, tongue, or throat muscles, or changes how those muscles coordinate (i.e., stroke, Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy, and others)
  • Injuries to the head, neck, or chest

Common causes of dysphagia in infants and children include:

  • Developmental problems stemming from premature birth or low birth weight
  • Nervous system disorders, such as cerebral palsy or meningitis
  • Cleft lip or palate (structural problems which make it difficult to nurse or drink from a conventional baby bottle